What Is Tooth Decay and What Causes It?

May 24, 2013

Filed under: General Dentistry — Tags: , , — dr_nichols @ 4:33 pm

tooth-colored fillingsIf you ask someone if sugar causes cavities, there’s a good chance they’ll say yes. This isn’t really the whole story, though. Sugar does contribute to problems with oral health, but the cause isn’t so direct as at. What really causes decay is acid, which then weakens the tooth’s outer layer, known as enamel.

Where does that acid come from?

From the interaction of bacteria with food, including, yes, foods that are high in sugar. When bacteria accumulate, it becomes a sticky substance known as plaque, which can then harden into calculus. The process, and the damage it can do to teeth, can be held at bay with an oral health regimen that includes brushing, flossing, and regular visit to your local dentist. Including an antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash can also help.

In cases where a tooth has started to decay or weaken as a result of acid, treatment is completed with a simple filling procedure. During a filling procedure, the decay is removed from a tooth and replaced with a strong, durable material like composite resin. The other benefit of composite resin, besides its strength, is that it can easily blend in with teeth, making your fillings nearly invisible.

To learn more about tooth-colored fillings, talk to your local dentist about how they work and if they’re right for your situation.

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